Former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent about-face on his support of the Hyde Amendment left his campaign communications director struggling to explain the move to CNN.
Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield was grilled by the network’s anchor Brianna Keilar Friday on CNN’s “Right Now,” repeatedly insisting the 2020 Democratic contender did not renounce his decades-long support of the ban on federal funding for abortions for political reasons.
But Bedingfield could not deliver a satisfactory answer as to Biden’s timing or the reasons behind his sudden reversal, seeming to avoid a direct response as she told Keilar she had already “asked the question a lot of ways.”
The CNN host asked Bedingfield to explain Biden’s “big change of heart,” referring to his flip-flop on his support of the ban on taxpayer-funded abortions, caving to backlash from the left just 24 hours after reaffirming his stance on the Hyde Amendment which was passed more than four decades ago, banning federal health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid from providing funding for abortions.
Joe Biden caves, reverses stance on Hyde Amendment in 24 hours after leftist backlash https://t.co/xkQeA4YkKh
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 7, 2019
“Well look, this is not a decision about politics for him. It’s a decision about health care. You heard him say last night that Roe is under unprecedented assault in this country,” Bedingfield replied, prompting Keilar to wonder when it became “an issue about healthcare for him and not an issue about religion or morality?”
“It is an issue about healthcare access, and you heard him say that last night. Roe is under unprecedented assault,” the Biden campaign spokesperson said, turning the focus on President Trump and Republicans who are “trying to cut off access” to minorities.
“So the vice president feels like in this moment of crisis on choice that he does not want to be foreclosing off any avenue for women receiving the healthcare that they need,” Bedingfield said.
“That’s been the argument of people who support abortion rights for quite some time now. We’ve seen a number of significant moves in many states. It’s been going on for months, months before Joe Biden got into the race, so why this change now?” Keilar pressed.
“Because if you’re trying to convince people that this isn’t about political expediency, which is part of Joe Biden’s hallmark, or as he would hope it would be, then you have to explain substantively how he changes his mind from Wednesday to Thursday on an issue as significant as that, that crosses so many lines, healthcare, yes, for Democratic primary voters, but maybe for general election voters and for the majority of them, it’s also an issue of morality and religion, so what is the substantive explanation for how he changed his mind?” Keilar added.
Bedingfield countered by saying it was a “tough, personal decision” for Biden but that “the moment that we’re in now is a dramatically different one.”
“Did he speak to advocates? How did he do it?” Keilar interjected. “Did someone give him evidence? What kind of evidence? Did he speak to advocates? Did he speak to women? What was the impetus? What was the inflection point that changed his mind?”
A report in the Atlantic on Friday claimed Biden had made his decision after speaking with many of his advisors, including actress Alyssa Milano.
As Bedingfield again avoided a direct answer, turning to the Supreme Court, Keilar again pressed the issue.
“But changing from Wednesday to Thursday, explain to us how this happened… What was the thing that changed his mind?” she asked. “All of those positions that you just explained are as they were on Wednesday when NBC News published their story that Joe Biden, according to his campaign still held his position, which he is now against.”
“Well, you heard him say it,” Bedingfield replied. “You’ve asked the question a lot of ways, I’ve answered it.”
“I don’t think you’ve answered it, Kate,” Keilar fired back. “Why doesn’t he explain it? He has not explained the process. This is a serious issue. He has not explained his evolution other than to say that he changed his mind.”
After the unsatisfactory interview, and Bedingfield’s explanations of Biden’s “authenticity,” an exasperated Keilar concluded, “And he thinks that’s going to fly as he is interviewed here in the coming weeks as a sufficient answer.”
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